Lara

Marko: You can just tell me freely what's on your mind about all this.

Lara: About all this. I'm living here all the time. When it was the war here, my parents went to Germany. My mom was pregnant with me, and then we were born there. Me and my brother, we lived there for four years, I think. And then we came back and my father, he wanted to come back in Knin. My mother, she's a city girl from Split and it was for her like, "Woooh, Knin, nooo" it was all ruined when they came back and it was very awful, from their stories, I don't know, I was too young for that. But now, she told me that she's so happy because we grew up here because I think we are most opened-minded than other people from other cities that they didn't experience that. And they always learning.

You will see, maybe we'll talk with someone who has parents who went to war and things like that, and then they are hardcore about “Croatians, Croatians, Croatians”, they hate Serbs and things like that. But they always learn me that we need to love each person just because first thing, you are a human, a person, not a Croatian, Finnish or Serb or something like that. I have a half-brother, he's a Serb so I think that's a bigger plus for me to understand something, to don't look on other people the wrong way. I can see that all of us here, we are living in a good-- There are not so many like they told you. I think from my point-of-view, there are not so many hate in our town now. There will be hate all the time while the persons who are in a war, they need to die and then everything will be better. So other generation needs to come. While the same generation is here, it won't be so good.

The biggest problem about hate and everything are the politicians like they told you, because they're making their policy to hate someone. The main-- a group of politicians—party-- is Croatian Democratic Party here, and they are just talking about Croatians, and they are always coming back on the war. "We need to remember war, we need to" blah, blah, blah and things like that. Most voters in Croatia are for that party, so it's very bad while still there's those people. It's not nice to say like that, but that's the ugly truth, I think. Some people, some generation needs to die and then it will be better. But the only thing I cannot understand are the young people like me, like you. They have the point-of-view of older ones to create. In my point-of-view, it's not normal and that's it. You can maybe ask me some question. It will be easier to talk with you. Give me some questions.

Marko: How do you define nationality, and what does it mean to be Croatian?

Lara: For me, it doesn't mean anything. I love my country and everything, but I can see that our country they don’t love us. They're just working, I don't know, a group of 50 people are looking just on themselves, and how to steal money and things like that. And as I told you before, they don't deserve to live here. So maybe I would rather go in Netherlands and live five years then be a Dutch after that. You know what I'm trying to say. For me, being Croatian, I don't know, it's the same. We're all the same. I'm looking like that. I'm not so Catholic, so I don't know how can I call myself. Maybe Agnostic or something like that, that really doesn't mean to me anything. I will bring home a gypsy, if he's a good person. I'm a person like that.

Marko: You think that there aren't such differences between the…

Lara: Maybe I'm hanging around with people who don't care about things like that. I have Serbian friends, friends from Bosnia, friends from Croatia and we hang around really good, and we don't look at each other in that way. Maybe it's just my area. You pick yourself a person who you want to talk and hang around. When I see-- For example, here in this cafe are coming many soldiers. They want to hear some national songs here and things like that, and it's forbidden here, they may curse here.

There was one situation when my brother was working, I was sitting here and there was a bunch of soldiers and a girl, she's with my age. She's in army, and she wanted one big national song about hate Serbs and things like that. I was sitting there and listening to them, how they are arguing with my brother. If you ask my brother when the war was ended, he doesn't know, he doesn't care about that. He didn't know how to argue with them, how to respond on them.

I just came there and I said to them, "First, it's very sad to me to see you from 24 years, that you are so hardcore in something. Okay, I respect your love for your country and things like that, but you don't respect this place, for example. He says that he wants to-- if he don't want to put this music, you can choose other cafes in our town to go and they will put you that song, probably. You don't have to be so irrespectable to this place or other person."

I don't know. People are poisoned. They're very poisoned here. We are a stupid nation, that's it. We are stupid country with stupid people here. We really don't deserve anything, but we still can live like that. I can not understand how people are happy to hate someone. I think in my opinion, it's good how it could be here in Knin because we Knin and Vukovar is on the other side of Croatia. They were most hit in the war. You can feel war, the best there.

I can tell you I was in Vukovar last year for the first time, I said, "Thank God, that I don't live there because probably I would hate Serbs and everything." You can feel much more that bad energy in Vukovar than here, about Serbs and everything. They have museums about war. You get in black rooms, and then there are televisions with all kinds of quotes from one Serbian soldier, and they are so sick quotes. I read that and I was like, I started to cry. I told to my dad that I can not believe that someone is so sick to say things like that about any person, not about Croatians, about anything.

I think in Knin you cannot feel like that. It's way better than there. You can still see some things, but from my point of view, we live together very good. There are Serbians, Bosnians, and Croatians. I don't see so much hate. I'm hanging around with young people, but with older people there are many guys that were in war. And then they have, I don't know, some kind of, they have PTSD. They are at one moment good, and then in the other moment, he comes out on the balcony and has started to scream and wave Croatian flag and things like that. You can see that with older people not with young, not so much young. Of course, we have some young stupid. They're stupid for me, and that's it. I cannot say anything else. If you can think like that, like this, and you're not open-minded, I don't know. And first you are a bad person if you think like that. I don't hang around with bad persons, and that's it. I make my circle for 10, 15 people then I go with them. They bring me a good energy and everything.